MLS Player Power Rankings: Race for the Top Spot Heats Up

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Race for the Top Spot Heats Up

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    The race for the top spot in the MLS Player Power Rankings is heating up now that the league's elite players are performing at the best of their abilities every week.

    Five of the top six players from Week 6 remained in the top six after Week 7, but there was room for one superstar to find his way into the top five. 

    As for the new entries, three players surged into the top 10, one of whom is familiar with this list, after terrific displays for their respective clubs on Saturday. 

    Continue reading on to see which players landed a coveted spot in the MLS Player Power Rankings. 

On the Way out

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    After Week 7 concluded, only five players found themselves on the outside looking in after making the top 20 through six weeks. 

     

    Players Who Dropped Out of Rankings: 

    Chris Wondolowski (San Jose; Week 6 Ranking: 12)

    Chris Rolfe (D.C.; 15)

    Will Johnson (Portland; 17)

    Jose Goncalves (New England; 18)

    Diego Chara (Portland; 20) 

20. Lloyd Sam

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    Week 6 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Against rival Philadelphia, Lloyd Sam had a terrific Wednesday night on the pitch at Red Bull Arena. 

    Not only did Sam score what turned out to be the game-winning strike, he provided his teammates with three key passes and even contributed a bit on defense with a key tackle and an effective clearance. 

19. Jose Mari

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    Colorado midfield ace Jose Mari sat out Saturday's 0-0 draw with San Jose because of soreness in his right quad

    If all goes right for the Spaniard, he should return to action when the Rapids visit Seattle on Saturday. 

18. Harrison Shipp

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    Week 6 Ranking: 19 

    In a match that ended with 10 men playing on each side, Harrison Shipp delivered quality on the left wing for the Chicago Fire. 

    Shipp set up the lone Chicago goal of the 1-1 draw with New England when he provided Quincy Amarikwa with an assist in the 16th minute. 

    The assist was the third of the season for the rookie out of Notre Dame. 

17. Andrew Farrell

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    Week 6 Ranking: 16 

    In place of the injured Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell provided the New England back four with plenty of stability at center-back. 

    Farrell was a force in the draw with the Fire at Toyota Park, as he made 13 effective clearances, two key interceptions and one key tackle. 

    If Goncalves continues to be bothered by his right quad strain, expect Farrell to continue to dominate in the middle of the back four until the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year returns. 

16. Pedro Morales

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    Week 6 Ranking: 9

    In 65 minutes of play against the L.A. Galaxy, Pedro Morales attempted five shots, but just one of them reached the target. 

    The creative midfielder, who completed 80 percent of his passes, was forced to watch from the bench as the duo of Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh drove Vancouver to a 2-2 draw. 

15. Matt Hedges

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    Week 6 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Matt Hedges is proving to be an all-around weapon for FC Dallas early on in the 2014 campaign. 

    The 24-year-old center-back played a part in both goals scored by the club in its 2-1 win over Toronto, and he was also able to make four key interceptions on defense.

    Hedges headed home the first goal by the home side at Toyota Stadium in the 32nd minute, before his headed pass dropped to the feet of Blas Perez in the 88th minute for the game-winner. 

14. Quincy Amarikwa

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    Week 6 Ranking: 14

    Quincy Amarikwa went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a span of 57 minutes in Chicago's home draw with New England.

    Amarikwa set his new career high of goals in a single season with four in the 16th minute, but that achievement will be easily forgotten because of his two yellow cards that led to his ejection in the 73rd minute. 

    While he did deserve his second booking, Amarikwa could have prevented his first had he not gone down in the box so easily, an action that earned a booking because of simulation. 

13. Graham Zusi

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    Week 6 Ranking: 13 

    In Sporting's 4-0 trouncing of Montreal at home, Graham Zusi was once again very productive on the left side of the pitch. 

    Zusi recorded his third assist of the season on the final goal of the night scored by Dom Dwyer. 

    Along with the assist, Zusi delivered two key passes and sent in five accurate long balls to his teammates. 

12. Michael Bradley

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    Week 6 Ranking: 8

    After missing out on Toronto's clash with Columbus, Michael Bradley returned to the depleted Toronto 11 and did his best to give the Reds a chance to win at Toyota Stadium. 

    Bradley made the most passes of any Toronto player with 44, 80 percent of which he completed, and he made two key passes on the offensive end during the 2-1 road defeat. 

11. Javier Morales

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    Week 6 Ranking: 11 

    In a match in which Real Salt Lake took 12 shots, Javier Morales was extremely active in the midfield to help the Claret and Cobalt earn those chances. 

    Morales led the team in touches (82) and key passes (three), as well as recorded a pass accuracy of 76 percent in the 1-0 victory over Portland. 

    Morales will look to continue his strong form at home against Vancouver in Week 8. 

10. Nick Rimando

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    Week 6 Ranking: Not Ranked

    After two weeks away from the RSL starting 11 and the Player Power Rankings, Nick Rimando returned with a bang in the win over Portland. 

    Rimando made four saves throughout the match, but it is his two in the final minutes of the second half that will be remembered most. 

    The United States international denied Alvas Powell and Gaston Fernandez just minutes apart to hold on to his third clean sheet of the season. 

9. Darren Mattocks

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    Week 6 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    For the second time in as many weeks, Darren Mattocks led the line up front for the Whitecaps against L.A. 

    Unlike his Week 6 showing at the StubHub Center, Mattocks provided plenty of pop in the 2-2 draw that Vancouver earned at home. 

    Mattocks played a part in both equalizing goals scored by the hosts, as he scored in the 67th minute, and then he assisted on Kekuta Manneh's wonder strike in the 86th minute. 

8. Dom Dwyer

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    Week 6 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Dom Dwyer owned the final stretch of the second half in Sporting's blowout victory at home against Montreal. 

    Dwyer scored two goals 12 minutes apart, beginning in the 74th minute, as Sporting asserted its dominance on one of the worst teams in the league.

    The brace doubled the season total of goals to four for the 23-year-old Englishman. 

7. Maurice Edu

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    Despite his team not earning the results they wanted to in two games during Week 7, Maurice Edu continued his strong individual season for Philadelphia. 

    In the loss against the Red Bulls and the home draw with the Dynamo, Edu took it upon himself to charge forward from his defensive midfield position to try to create more chances for his side. 

    Philadelphia did score a late goal from the spot on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena, but Edu's efforts went to waste on Saturday, despite his pass accuracy of 91 percent. 

6. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Week 6 Ranking: 4

    Once again, Osvaldo Alonso was a menace in the defensive midfield alongside Gonzalo Pineda for the Sounders, but he did make one big error. 

    After he was beat by Leandro Barrera on the left wing, Alonso tried to recover, but he took down the Chivas USA winger and conceded a penalty. 

    Other than his mistake in the fourth minute, Alonso played well with a pass accuracy of 89 percent and six key interceptions. 

5. Robbie Keane

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    Week 6 Ranking: 10 

    Robbie Keane extended his scoring streak to four games with a 77th-minute goal that temporarily put the Galaxy ahead in Vancouver. 

    The fourth goal of the season for the 33-year-old was well deserved, as he took five shots in the match, three of which were on target.

    During his four-game scoring streak, Keane has put nine shots on goal and fired eight more shots off target. 

4. Erick Torres

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    The only forward based out of Los Angeles who is hotter than Keane right now is Erick Torres. 

    The Chivas USA forward scored his sixth goal of the season on a fifth-minute penalty in his team's 2-1 loss to Seattle. 

    Torres also fired two shots on goal in the match that saw him tie Clint Dempsey in the Golden Boot race. 

3. Federico Higuain

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    Federico Higuain had an average game by his standards in Columbus' 1-1 draw with D.C. at Crew Stadium. 

    Higuain made 95 touches, three key passes and fired a shot on target, but he was not the reason why the Crew drew level in the waning moments of the game.

    In that instance, Higuain took a back seat to Wil Trapp, who delivered a high-quality pass on the way to a goal by Hector Jimenez. 

2. Mauro Diaz

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    In 89 minutes on the pitch against a Toronto side that was missing a few pieces, Mauro Diaz turned in another quality showing in the FC Dallas midfield. 

    Although none of his three shots found the target, Diaz did make three key passes, a number that brought his season total up to 17. 

    Diaz completed 81 percent of his 53 passes, and he even recorded a key interception on the defensive end of the pitch. 

1. Clint Dempsey

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    Week 6 Ranking: 

    Clint Dempsey did not score for the third consecutive week, but he did provide an assist on both goals netted by the Sounders in their 2-1 win over Chivas USA.

    Dempsey took advantage of a mistake by Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy in the 24th minute as he passed the ball off to Lamar Neagle for the first Seattle goal.

    In the 81st minute, the United States international combined with Obafemi Martins to hand the Nigerian his second goal of the season.

    Through the first seven weeks of the season, Dempsey has six goals and three assists. 

     

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com.

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.